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Russia: Yeltsin Says CIS Summit Should Strengthen Ties

Chisinau, 23 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin says the just-concluded summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) would give "a strong impetus" to strengthening ties within the 12 former Soviet republics. But he also said the CIS is ineffective and will be reorganized.

Yeltsin, speaking at a closing news conference before flying back to Moscow, acknowledged CIS ineffectiveness and accepted Russia's share of blame for it. Yeltsin also said the CIS is to be reorganized at its next summit exactly three months from now, on January 23. He did not disclose the venue of the next summit.

The CIS summit in the Moldovan capital Chisinau came amid mounting criticism, some of it directed at the commonwealth's poor record in settling regional and ethnic conflicts.

Yeltsin today blamed his country for ongoing conflicts in Transdniestr, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh and stated Russia's support for "unified" Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Yeltsin also announced that the CIS summit had decided to extend its peacekeepers mandate in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia until next year.